Real Madrid have excluded Karim Benzema from the squad to face Osasuna this weekend, reports Marca.
The French striker recently returned to action after missing part of the Club World Cup due to injury.
Benzema was in his element against Elche on Wednesday, bagging a brace in Madrid’s 4-0 win.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side travel to Pamplona on Saturday but are already thinking about next Tuesday’s game.
Madrid face Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie at Anfield.
The La Liga club want Benzema to be in pristine condition for the game and have decided to rest him.
The 35-year-old has bagged 16 goals across all competitions this term. However, he has struggled with injuries in recent months.
Benzema retired from international duty in December to fully concentrate on club football.
He is not getting any younger and nature is taking its toll on his body.
The Madrid star was withdrawn against Elche and seen talking to Ancelotti before his substitution.
Los Blancos are eight points behind Barcelona in La Liga after 21 games.
They will give their all to defend the league title, but winning the Champions League is the priority.
Madrid are the competition’s defending champions after beating Liverpool in the final last year.
Both clubs renew hostilities in the next few days, and Ancelotti wants to leave England with an advantage.
Osasuna are ninth in La Liga and will put up a fight tomorrow. However, Madrid are willing to hand Benzema a much-deserved rest ahead of a more important game.
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